Jawing On

Most people don’t appreciate what facial pain is like. One person who can is Priscilla Schmidt. She has filed a $3.7 million medical malpractice lawsuit against Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and three oral surgeons who worked on her and permanently damaged her mental nerve, which affects the chin and jaw area.

In early 2012 Schmidt underwent what was explained to her as a routine and simple surgery to extract a “baby” tooth that had never come out. At the time of the surgery Schmidt was 32 years old. The surgeons who operated on Schmidt were Philipp Kupfer, a first-year resident, and Jeremiah Johnson, a student in the oral and maxillofacial surgery program at OHSU. They were supposed to be supervised by OHSU oral surgeon Bob Myall, but Schmidt’s lawsuit alleges there was inadequate supervision.

Following the surgery Schmidt suffered from extreme pain and felt numbness and pain in her lower jaw and left cheek area. The pain failed to dissipate, and after a month of pain her oral surgeons suggested she take Vitamin B complex. An appointment with a different oral surgeon shortly after revealed the permanent, irreversible damage caused to her mental nerve by the surgery.

Schmidt is still in constant pain and is suing OHSU for $2.75 million in non-economic damages, $900,000 in lost wage potential, and $75,000 for medical purposes. She is represented by attorney James Huegli.